Lockdown 3.0 has seemed to hit us all harder than its two predecessors, motivation is at an all-time low and dry January has gone out the window along with Trump’s policies, as more of us struggle in isolation to balance home schooling and with our day-to-day jobs. But despite the impact on our own mental wellbeing the real concern is the longstanding affects this pandemic will have on our children’s mental health and sociological skills.
In a survey with young people at the start of the pandemic, 83% said that the crisis had made their mental health worse. Whilst, 87% of young people agreed that they had felt lonely or isolated during the lockdown period. These statistics are a huge concern as children are separated from their peers, forced to face very adult problems at increasingly young ages and understandably becoming more and more reliant on screens for entertainment and communication. One way to combat the increase in screen-time, allow children a sense of escapism whilst working on improving their literacy skills is through the joy of reading. Reading has never been more important for children and so we wanted to share with you our top ten books to inspire, entertain and subtly tackle some of your children’s anxieties this mental health week.
1.A Shelter for Sadness by Anne Booth and illustrated by multi award-winning illustrator David Litchfield is a stunning book about a little boy who creates a safe space for his Sadness, where he can visit, protect and communicate with his sadness whenever he needs to. Subtle and yet moving this book is the perfect conversation starter for little ones who may be struggling to accept their sadness.
2. Butterfly Brain by Laura Dockrill and illustrated by Gwen Milward is a delightful and moving exploration of grief and the joy that makes us human. Gus falls back on his chair and cracks his head, but through the crack a beautiful butterfly appears, taking Gus on a colourful journey into his own imagination, helping him to face some memories he has locked up tight.
3. The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas has been one of our most popular titles of 2020, as it takes children on a gentle exploration of feelings through different uses of colour. One day Colour Monster wakes up very confused his emotions are all over the place; he feels happy, angry, sad and scared all at once! But each feeling is easily expressed and managed through the change of Colour Monster’s colours!
4. The Mindful Kids Series by Child and Family Psychotherapist Dr Sharie Coombes is a series of interactive self-care activity books perfect for children ages 7+ to colour and doodle their way to calm and confidence. Tackling issues such as bullying, grief, anxiety and yes too much screen time., these books are the perfect activity books to keep your kids occupied in a mentally-positive way.
5. I Really Want to Shout by Simon Philip and illustrated by Lucia Gaggiotti is a hilarious picture book about a little girl and her dog who really, really wants to SHOUT. A feeling all of us have been familiar with at some point in the last year. But with a little help this little girl and her dog learns big lessons about managing her anger, with a funny rhyming text and laugh-out-loud illustrations this is sure to be a family favourite!
6. Sometimes I Feel by Sarah Maycock is a menagerie of feelings big and small. With gorgeous watercolour illustrations Sarah explores our feelings though a collection of animal similes and poetic prose. Even a big bear can feel small sometimes and a mouse can find the inner courage to stand tall.
7. My Hidden Chimp by Professor Steve Peters creator of the chimp management mind model provides you with ten habits to help children to understand and manage their emotions and behaviour. Perfect for parents, teachers and carers Steve provides 10 simple habits that we as adults and children need in our arsenal to deal with everyday life.
8. How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, is an international bestseller, having sold 5 million copies worldwide, providing a practical guide to everyday family life. Learn how to break a pattern of arguments, cope with your child’s negative feelings and resolve family conflicts peacefully. This book has never been more necessary!
9. Nervous Nigel by Bethany Christou is a whimsical story about a small, anxious crocodile who comes to terms with who he really is. A wonderful and light-hearted story about finding the courage to open up to your family and tackle any anxious feelings. If you want to see an adorable crocodile with bunny slipper’s then this is the book for you!
10. All The Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman is an incredible story about the life-saving power of friendship. 16-year-old Mehreen Miah’s suffers with anxiety and depression and in her mind is left with only one option – a suicide pact. A pact made with two other teenagers facing similar serious issues. Ironically the one thing that bought them together is also the thing that gives them a reason to keep on living – friendship. An incredible book shortlisted for the Diverse Book Awards 2020, All The Things We Never Said is a celebration of life and the importance of friendship.
Published 04 Feb 2021